University of Michigan: Rescind the Decision to Allow a Deer Cull on Campus
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Please rescind the University's decision to allow sharpshooters on campus to kill deer. In addition to the myriad safety issues a cull presents and the waste of funds, the rationale is simple-minded. Wildlife experts agree Ann Arbor does not have an overpopulation, public health officials report no deer-associated disease threat in our area, and City officials agree that the main driver behind the cull is not vehicle collisions.
There is little to no objective data on Ann Arbor's deer issues. If UM joins this cull, it will be joining an approach of “shoot first, ask questions later.” The Department of Natural Resources was surprised at the speed at which Ann Arbor decided to cull, as they say most communities study their deer issues for years before developing a strategy. And progressive communities, like Berkeley, California, choose nonviolent strategies. Violence should be our last resort, not our first.
And maybe you haven't been told that this isn't "one and done." Urban culls are nothing more than a political quick fix -- a violent and financially wasteful endeavor that, as Ann Arbor's culling contractor says, must be repeated year after year. He refers to the repeated need to cull as though it were as harmless as "mowing the lawn." As Ann Arbor is not an island and the Arboretum has no surrounding fence, the deer will quickly rebound through increased birth rates and migration, and so both the taxpayers and the University will have wasted money.
There is no deer overpopulation, no public health or safety crisis. Let’s solve this problem with creative, life-affirming solutions -- without taking up arms against wildlife and without putting wandering students at risk. So many residents, students and visitors enjoy wildlife in the Arb and other local natural areas; they do not want these sanctuaries of tranquility and natural beauty assaulted. Please reconsider the decision to fund and allow sharpshooters to kill deer on University land. The University of Michigan is a well-respected institution that values science, diversity, and peace; please keep it that way.
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